There is a lot to think about when taking your first cruise: where to go and what to do; which cruise line to go with; what time of year to travel; your destination; and last but not least, how much you want to spend on your cruise. When you are gay or lesbian I think you are given more options. There are the usual cruises, yes, but these days cruise lines are getting a lot more creative with their themes in an effort to compete in the market.
I think the first and most important decision to be made concerns the type of cruise that you’re looking for. Do you want to book a normal “straight” cruise or would you rather go to a more familiar place with other gay and lesbian travelers? This decision would probably depend on who will be traveling in your party. Is it family and friends? Just family? If so, your family may prefer the former, depending on their own comfort level. If your family is more open-minded, or you plan to travel with friends of a similar background, then the latter may prove to be the more interesting option.
The next thing you’ll want to consider is how you will make your travel arrangements. Would you like to book the cruise on your own, or would you prefer to book the cruise through a travel agent? Keep in mind that a travel agent may have access to better rates- particularly group rates and tour deals. So, with that said- how “private” would you like your cruise to be? If this is your first cruise, then you may want to go on a tour; this would provide a great opportunity to learn about the cruise atmosphere and explore various outlets for entertainment.
Speaking of atmosphere- what kind of cruise environment are you looking for? Many people travel to get away from their everyday habitat. Do you live in icy cold weather? A Hawaiian cruise may be a welcome retreat! If you live in a hot area, then perhaps an Alaskan cruise- complete with scenic views of icy glaciers- would be something new and exciting.
Finally, how many days do you want to be on vacation? Cruises can last anywhere from a few days to over two weeks. Depending on what type of getaway you need- a short vacation to escape from the drudgery of work or a long vacation to explore new sights and create lasting memories- you may have to shop around for the cruise that will best match your needs. Your length of travel will also depend on how comfortable you are being away from home. Some people tend to get homesick and would not want to spend so much time away from home; on the other hand, if you are frequently out, you may want to stay out longer.
There are always a lot of factors to think about when traveling, so make sure you do your research because fun is the only option when vacationing! 😉